Resolved, there shall be a special commission to study Chapter 71B and make recommendations toward the long-term fiscal health and sustainability of Special Education throughout the Commonwealth, and make recommendations to consider all matters pertaining to the improvement of fiscal health and educational outcomes. The commission shall examine the impact and efficacy of special education programs in the Commonwealth.
The special commission shall consist of the house chair of the joint committee on education or designee, the senate chair of the joint committee on education or designee, the commissioner of education or designee, one member of the house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker, one member of the senate to be appointed by the senate president, and six members to be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts administrators for special education, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts association of school committees, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts association of school superintendents, one of whom shall be a member of a local parents' advisory council, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts school psychologists association, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts elementary school principals association.
Said special commission shall:
(i) examine the universe of students eligible for said programs as well as educational programs and finances of school districts and municipalities;
(ii) perform a comparative analysis of the number of children receiving special education and the costs of these services in the Commonwealth;
(iii) examine current transportation services for children receiving special education and alternatives available to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve the quality of said services;
(iv) examine ways to increase coordination among school districts for the provision of higher quality cost-effective services, including the regionalization of special education programs;
(v) examine the system of evaluating, placing, and monitoring students receiving special education, including out-of-district placements;
(vi) examine the system of appeals and monitoring of school district compliance with state and federal special education laws administered by the department of education;
(vii) examine the cost trends to local and regional school districts of providing special education services, the capacity of said districts to fund such services within the resources required or made available by chapter seventy of the General Laws and the effects of said services on the programmatic and fiscal planning and educational accomplishments of said districts; and
(viii) study issues surrounding the classroom discipline of children with special needs, including the impact, if any, of proposed or enacted federal laws relative to said issues, and identify modifications to laws and regulations of the commonwealth that would be necessary to comply with said proposed or enacted federal law changes.
Said special commission shall report to the house and senate committees on ways and means the results of its study, and recommendations for implementing findings, by filing the same with the clerks of the house of representatives and senate and the joint committee on education on or before January 1, 2024.
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